DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Bethune-Cookman’s six-game winning streak over North Carolina Central ended Saturday night as the visiting Eagles posted a 31-14 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) victory over the Wildcats at Municipal Stadium in a game delayed two hours and 46 minutes by severe weather in the Volusia County area.
Malcolm Bell threw for 295 yards and two touchdowns and added a rushing score, while teammate Ramone Simpson added 116 yards on the ground and the final TD scamper as the Eagles (3-2 overall, 1-1 MEAC) snapped a six-game losing streak to the Wildcats (0-4, 0-2 MEAC) dating back to 1994. [easyazon_infoblock align=”right” cart=”y” identifier=”B017V26QBG” locale=”US” tag=”hbcusports-20″]
Bethune-Cookman, winners of the last four consecutive MEAC crowns, is 0-4 for the first time since 2009.
The Wildcats took a 7-0 lead on Jamaruz Thompkins’ 17-yard run with 3:07 remaining in the first quarter and controlled most of the first half.
B-CU outgained the Eagles, 114-57 in the first quarter and appeared to be on the verge of taking control of the game.
“This was a sign that we have to learn to finish games,” said B-CU second-year head coach Terry Sims. “We had some guys back who could help us today, but we had opportunities to score and couldn’t finish. We could have stopped them [North Carolina Central] and we just didn’t.”
A 41-yard Akevious Williams-to-Frank Brown passing hookup put the Wildcats in the red zone, but a penalty abruptly ended the scoring threat. Another Wildcats drive ended found its way down inside the NCCU 35 yard line, but was stalled due to a snap well over the head of quarterback Akevious Williams – resulting in a loss of almost 20 yards on the play.
On both occasions, B-CU was scoreless in the promising drives.
Taking advantage of the stalled momentum, the Eagles put together a quick three-play drive in the final minute of the opening half to tie it on Bell’s 25-yarder to Khalil Stinson 24 seconds before the halftime horn.
“Anytime you let a team get momentum, it’ll be a turning point,” Sims said.
Bell orchestrated a 77-yard drive to give the Eagles a 14-7 lead on his 4-yarder to Glen Calvin with 9:58 remaining in the third quarter. After play resumed from the lengthy weather delay, Bell scored on a three-yard keeper six minutes into the fourth quarter.
Bethune-Cookman closed to within 24-14 after Frank Brown caught a 15-yarder from Larry Brihm, Jr. – returning from injury in his first action in two weeks, one play after Brown returned an Eagles punt 41 yards.
Brown finished the night with six catches for 109 yards, in addition to the punt return. Tupac Isme led the Wildcats rushing game with 60 yards on 10 carries, followed by Thompkins (50 yards on three carries) and Cameron Rigby (24 yards on seven attempts). Akevious Williams finished 10-of-21 for 114 yards, while Brihm completed 2-of-4 passes for 34 yards in limited action.
Defensively, middle linebacker Trenton Bridges had a third-quarter interception that gave the Wildcats the ball at the Eagles’ 30, but Bethune-Cookman was unable to capitalize. Safety Diquan Richardson had nine tackles, while Delwaun Beard chipped in with eight.
Bethune-Cookman travels to Orangeburg, South Carolina next Saturday for a 1 p.m. matchup against South Carolina State.
Courtesy: B-CU Athletics